29+ Epic Tanning Fails That’ll Have You Reaching for the Sunscreen


| LAST UPDATE 03/05/2023

By Arianna Morgan

We've all been there, especially on those hot summer days. Whether you're lounging seaside or just walking around without applying SPF - a terrible tan line is basically inevitable. Let's check out some of the worst.

Sandal Tan

Clearly, it's sunny most of the year, wherever he is, because that awkward sandal tan looks like it took some time to develop! It's either sandals or sneakers for the rest of the season until that's taken care of…

Worst Sunburn Fails SandalsWorst Sunburn Fails Sandals
Reddit via u/ClickbaitDetective

According to the Reddit user who uploaded this hilarious tan fail, the tan mishap went down while he was living in Vietnam. There we go. Except for their rainy season, Vietnam generally has a warm climate - making it ideal for travelers (and sandals).

What's Going On Here?

Honestly, we're not even sure what this awkward tan line could possibly be from. This must have been done on purpose, right? The lines are almost too perfect for it to be an accident - but again, what could it possibly be? The options are endless here…

Worst Sunburn Fails FunnyWorst Sunburn Fails Funny
Reddit via u/PhiladelphiaIrish

At first glance, we're seeing an EKG scan. Yup. Like when you go in to get your heart checked out-those lines. Next glance? Seeing some sort of bridge situation or math graph. This guy must have had someone lay out a string on his back in this shape in order to get the ideal outcome - and well, it worked!

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A Breakfast Bake

Like many other sunburns we've seen, this one looks equally as painful. As this Twitter user revealed, she was enjoying some breakfast outside when things took an unexpected turn. "Never sleep outside with cereal guys xxxxx," she shared. Yikes, now that's gonna leave a mark!

funny suntan line failsfunny suntan line fails
Twitter via @elley5sos

The problem with a leg burn is you can't sit down comfortably - And obviously, that's a big problem! It's time for this girl to invest in sunscreen with a much higher SPF and some aloe vera. Maybe even take an ice bath or two to start relieving the pain?

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Cycle Squad

This kind of tan doesn't happen overnight - this takes time to perfect. Clearly, these guys are dedicated athletes, but what they didn't know is that they are dedicated tanners as well! However, the jokes on them because they ended up with a less-than-ideal tan line…

Worst Sunburn Fails BikersWorst Sunburn Fails Bikers
Reddit via u/mumblingminutes

The standard cycling outfit requires shorts and a t-shirt, but what no one told them is that an awkward leg tan was a part of the outfit as well! Hopefully, their helmets protect them from getting a more than awkward sunglasses tan as well! Don't forget to apply sunscreen!

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Thanks, Apple

Who hasn't been there with the watch tan?! It's probably the most common awkward tan out there. If you wear a watch every day, it's most likely you've been in this exact same position and then wondered how in the world it's eventually going to disappear.

Tan Line Fails WatchTan Line Fails Watch
Reddit via u/HopefulScientist3604

Luckily, if you do wear a watch every day, it shouldn't be much of a problem to cover this one up - just by continuing to wear your watch every day! The Reddit user behind this Apple watch fail wrote, "If this is apple's marketing strategy to keep our watches on, I think it's working!" True!

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Friends Who Burn Together, Stay Together

This just looks rough, but at least they're all in together, right? We can almost feel the pain from the sunburn just by looking at this photograph. What went wrong here? Well, it was this group of friends' "first time in the Florida sun," and "apparently, it was also their first time using spray-on sunscreen." LOL.

Worst Sunburn Fails RedditWorst Sunburn Fails Reddit
Reddit via u/mynickname86

The Florida sun is strong, to begin with, so regardless, they were in for some sort of a burn. But whoever was in charge of spraying on the sunscreen forgot the very important step of rubbing it in afterward! Hopefully, this didn't ruin the rest of their vacation…

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This Is Awkward

This guy needs to get out more. Well, his feet do. Is it better to have an awkward sandal tan or an awkward sock tan? Either way, this guy is stuck with a more than awkward tan that clearly shows everyone he is not someone who enjoys showing off his toes!

Funny Sunburn Fails FeetFunny Sunburn Fails Feet
Reddit via u/balajimech

However, when summertime came around, he had no choice but to show off his feet, and here we are. This guy went for a swim by the pool and came out with tan legs and less than-tan feet. Time for him to lay back, relax, and work on his feet tan! ASAP!

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2020 Tan

This is what tanning in 2020 looked like. There is just so much to dissect about this one and so many questions to be asked. Starting with the simple question of why? We were all there, wearing the masks, but there were certain times that it was socially acceptable to take them, off-one being when you're sunbathing.

Worst Tanning Fails Covid MaskWorst Tanning Fails Covid Mask
Reddit via u/Motherhazelhoff

She either intentionally wanted to see what a mask tan would look like, or she was lying out, fell asleep, and forgot to take her mask off. Either way, she's stuck with an awkward "Quarantan," as one user hilariously put it. It's sure going to take a whole lot of time in the sun to even out this one!

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Hat Head

Well, this is just unfortunate and pretty difficult to hide. According to the Reddit user who uploaded this hilarious tan fail, his "brother works outdoors and wears the same hat every day," and naturally, this is the outcome. This can't be comfortable!

Worst Sunburn Fails HatWorst Sunburn Fails Hat
Reddit via u/LivingInColor8

Reddit users are freaking out over this awkward head burn, questioning why he hasn't invested in a brimmed hat yet? We understand he's working outside in the sun all day, so he's most likely wearing a mesh hat to keep cool - but there must be an alternate solution! No?

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It's time to learn the value of sunblock for these two. Just looking at this picture is painful. From their bright red sunburn to her now very apparent suntan lines, these two look like they are in desperate need of a trip to the pharmacy for some aloe vera.

Awkward Tan Lines FunnyAwkward Tan Lines Funny
Twitter via @SetCheshire

"Is there a chemist opening this evening," he wrote, captioning the photo. He also made sure to tell the people that there was a heatwave when this unfortunate incident went down. So one layer of sunscreen was never going to cut it here, and now they're suffering the consequences. SPF, folks! Use it!

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"Tan lines are sexy, right?" A lot of the time, they are, but this guy might have just missed the mark. Not everyone thinks to apply sunscreen to their feet, but now we know it's equally important to put SPF on your feet as it is on the rest of your body!

Awkward Tan Lines CrocsAwkward Tan Lines Crocs
Imgur via BobHopeLives

Especially when you're rocking a pair of crocs, these babies are destined for disaster in the summer tan. Someone hilariously suggested this type of sunburn is called "crocdots," and we can't help but agree with him! Mental note: always apply sunscreen to your feet.

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Sunnies or No Sunnies?

We were due for an awkward sunglasses tan, but this really takes the cake. "When u forget to put sunscreen on ur face, but at least ur sunglasses work," this Instagram user wrote. True! Sunglasses at the beach are always risky, but hopefully, they looked cute!

Sunglasses Tan Lines FunnySunglasses Tan Lines Funny
Instagram via @aandjclemmer

Let's not ignore that she tagged this photo's location in Anna Marie Island, Florida. Florida seems to be the place where a whole lot of sunburn mishaps are happening - thanks to that super strong sun! Another mental note: SPF 50 for any trip to the Sunshine State.

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Facepaint Gone Wrong

It's all fun and games until someone lands up with an awful sunburn. It started off as an innocent day of face painting and ended up with a less-than-welcomed sunburn of a dragon. Whoops. Not only are you stuck with a painful sunburn, you're stuck with a dragon on your arm...

facepaint fails funny viral facepaint fails funny viral
Instagram via @otherworldlyillusionsfx

"Only I could manage to accidentally sunburn a dragon, complete with details, onto my arm," this Instagram user laughed. We feel you. This is definitely a very specific sunburn to walk around with, but sometimes it is just what it is. Better luck next time, guys!

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Marathon Mementos

This must be the price you pay for being a runner. "My race number got sunburned onto my arm in Nov 2019… it's now Sept 2020, and 3 of the digits are still legible," she hilariously wrote. Oh, that's just awkward. This poor girl was trying to run a marathon!

Awkward Tan Lines MarathonAwkward Tan Lines Marathon
Instagram via @life.beyond.the.lab

The most shocking part of all? That after nearly a year, you can still vaguely see the numbers! She must have really let loose on the sunscreen to have such a sunburn. Another mental note, but this time for all future marathon runners: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!

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Cut-Out Chaos

Clearly, she's dedicated to the craft that is tanning to get this unfortunate outcome, but we can't deny that we've all been there. There's nothing like rocking a new bathing suit with fun cut-outs and ending up with a less-than-desirable sunburn. Nothing.

Awkward Tan Lines BackAwkward Tan Lines Back
Reddit via u/inkwitxh

However, this Reddit user claimed she had sunblock on, but still, the sun got her! "Less than an hour in the sun, with factor 50 and factor 70 all over me," she assured. It seems like no matter what we do, the sun is just out to get those in a cut-out bathing suit. Stay warned!

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A Runner's Remorse

Another runner. These runners need to invest in sunscreen with a much higher SPF! This Reddit user participated in the London marathon a couple of years ago and, in return, ended up with a gnarly sunburn. "Think I missed a bit with the sunscreen," he jokingly revealed.

Sunburn Funny Viral RedditSunburn Funny Viral Reddit
Reddit via u/mikeszabo20

One Reddit user hilariously commented on the photograph, writing, "I literally thought you were wearing a top for a second." Funny, not funny. It's going to take this guy quite some time and a whole lot of aloe vera to come back from this. Good luck, sir!

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Ripped Dreams & Sunburnt Knees

"I guess I'll never wear ripped jeans in the sun again," Maggie laughed. This Twitter user is living every ripped jeans owner's nightmare. As someone who owns and often wears ripped jeans, this is something to take into account next time it's a sunny day outside!

Awkward Tan Lines Knees JeansAwkward Tan Lines Knees Jeans
Twitter via @mcbridemc23

Apparently, it's important to apply sunscreen on your legs even when just the knees are poking out because you never know what's going to happen. No one is safe from the sun! Maybe we should just be keeping a bottle of SPF 50 in our bags at all times.

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Better Luck Next Time

Poor girl. This was almost guaranteed the moment she put on this shirt and decided to leave her house. This Instagram user confirmed this was the outcome even with "multiple applications of sunscreen," but after walking outside around Wisconsin's Road America all day, this was what she got.

Worst Sunscreen Tan LinesWorst Sunscreen Tan Lines
Instagram via @girlgonegreyyy

"In hindsight, I probably should have worn a different shirt," she said — true, girl. At least now she knows for next! Regardless, she's stuck with a checkerboard on her back until this awkward sunburn eventually fades away. But who knows how long that's going to take...

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Stocking Statements

This one really just speaks for itself. According to this Reddit user, this is the aftermath of wearing stockings all day in the sun. As cute as patterned stockings may be, this is a warning for all those interested to never wear them on a sunny day - or else…

Awkward Tan Lines HacksAwkward Tan Lines Hacks
Reddit via u/CoolStoryMoe

At the end of the day, at least she's stuck with a... cute sunburn? And the good news? She's not alone. Fellow Reddit users shared their unfortunate sunburn stories of wearing patterned stockings, and surprisingly plenty of other people have also been in her shoes!

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The Classic Chacos Tan

Friends who awkwardly tan together stay together. It looks like seven different people fell to the demise of the awkward sandal tan, but at least they're in it together. However, the Reddit user who uploaded this hilarious picture shared some background information that these feet all belong to him and his co-workers!

Awkward Sandal Tan Lines Awkward Sandal Tan Lines
Reddit via u/Beans-n-egg

This unfortunate tan situation is all thanks to the work of Chacos sandals. For those who don't know, Chacos sandals are great for hiking and spending time outdoors. So our guess? They must work in a national park, camping site, or something in that domain to get this awkward shoe tan!

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Shredding the Slopes

So apparently, this tan line was considered a "status symbol" at her school. But how and why? Well, according to this Reddit user, her family lived near the base of a ski resort, where her primary school skied either once a week or six times a week - so needless to say, she skied a lot!

Worst Sunburn Fails SkiingWorst Sunburn Fails Skiing
Reddit via u/TigzyWigzy

She continued to explain, "your goggle tan became an indicator of how many days you had skied and how cool you are basically." So clearly, "skincare wasn't a thing," and she was "the coolest girl in school." Since then, she's learned from her mistakes and wears "a lot more sunblock these days."

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Graduations & Sunburns: A Saga

No one wants to sit at a college graduation, to begin with. They're long, pretty boring, and often, outside in the sun. And this guy got stuck sitting outside for "two and half hours in direct sunlight for my [his] brother's graduation," and here we are.

Worst Sunburn Fails LegsWorst Sunburn Fails Legs
Reddit via u/River_Atkinson

A fellow Reddit user asked why he just didn't wear pants. And his response? "It was 80 degrees, and I'd just gotten back from a week-long trip and had nothing longer than shorts besides pajamas. And I assumed it would be indoors." Maybe next year's commencement speech should be about the dangers of not wearing sunscreen...

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Say “No” To Spray

Disclaimer: he applied sunscreen twice, yet this was still the outcome! Some people are just not meant for the sun, it seems. @Leeroy_D shared that his wife helped him out with the sunscreen at the beach, but at the end of the day, he's still stuck with this striking (and painful) sunburn!

Spray Sunscreen Tanning FailsSpray Sunscreen Tanning Fails
Reddit via u/Leeroy_D

As we've come to recognize, spray sunscreen is just not the way to go for a lot of beachgoers. And even if it is, it seems like most people are skipping the simple step of rubbing it in! It might take this poor guy a couple of weeks to recover from this sunburn.

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Snapbacks & Sunburns

Look, one might argue snapback hats went out of style years ago. So in a way, he almost had this one coming - and well, his face says it all. This guy looks less than pleased with his now sunburned face, let alone the surprise that is the "sick stripe" burn from his hat!

Sunburn Fails Snapback HatSunburn Fails Snapback Hat
Twitter via @Neonixdub

According to this Twitter user, he feels "absolutely incapacitated" from the burn - and, look, we've all been there. Unfortunately, there's not much he can do about this unfortunate face burn other than maybe slather on the aloe and pray it goes away sooner than later!

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There really should be a disclaimer for all bicyclists: Nothing good comes from riding in the sun without slathering on an endless amount of SPF - it really is just a recipe for disaster. But why don't we let this picture do all the talking here?

funny sunburn fails redditfunny sunburn fails reddit
Reddit via u/genuinlyinterested

"My friend told me that I look like a popsicle stick," user u/genuinlyinterested laughed. And, well, they are not wrong. Are they? And we're not the only ones who thought so. "As a ginger with pale skin who lives in Las Vegas - this image brings up many painful memories," another user hilariously chimed in.

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One Thing Is Not Like the Other

Are you thinking what we're thinking? As one user hilariously put it, "That cannot be the same person!" And well, they've got a point. This poor guy was simply trying to even out his tan on his lunch break when things took a colorful turn - literally.

spring break fails funnyspring break fails funny
Reddit via u/philfromchico

Is anyone else getting flashbacks to Ross from Friends? Unfortunately for this employee, though, his tanning fail isn't part of a scripted sitcom - instead, it's all too real. Could we BE any more amused? We just hope he reapplied sunscreen or that back of his is going to turn into the color of his shorts!

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Friendly PSA

This is a "friendly reminder to use sunscreen" from the owner of this weird tan line. "8 months later, and I still have a horrendous tan line," she shared to Reddit. We hope that whatever she was doing out in the sun was worth it because this baby isn't going away anytime soon, it seems!

Awkward Tanning Fails FunnyAwkward Tanning Fails Funny
Reddit via u/Belledonner9

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, you can do a few things to help get rid of a nasty burn. Take frequent cool showers to relieve the pain and moisturize after to contain the water in your skin, drink tons of water, apply a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy, and wear loose and covered clothing.

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Color Runs Aren’t Always Fun

This girl looks far from happy! You may be thinking, how did she end up with the word "Happy" tanned onto her face in the first place? Well, as it turns out, she was just trying to have a fun day participating in a color run and instead ended up with this unfortunate sunburn.

Worst Face Sunburn FailsWorst Face Sunburn Fails
Imgur via mitchp88

And well, it didn't stop there. She not only forgot to apply sunscreen to her face, but she ended up going in for an x-ray over a rolled ankle that she sprained during the "not-so-fun color run." Maybe the lesson of this story is to just not compete in a color run? Tread lightly.

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Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

If you're going to end up with a sunburn, you might as well get a little laugh at the same time! This parent decided to get a kick out of her daughter's sunburn and get a little creative in doing so - and we're here for it! The perks of being a parent, right?

SpongeBob Patrick Fails FunnySpongeBob Patrick Fails Funny
Reddit via u/burner70

After seeing the disaster that is this terrible tan line, this parent decided to have some fun and draw two little eyes on her daughter's back. And just like that, we have Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants! And honestly, we can really see the resemblance.

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Hole in None

These hat tans seem to really be getting people. However, a visor tan, we have yet to see. Unfortunately, this guy just wasn't thinking too many steps ahead when he got caught with his head exposed to the sun and a nasty sunburn. Sorry, pal - better luck next time?

Funny Golfing Fails SunburnFunny Golfing Fails Sunburn
Reddit via u/rayfin

However, we found out he had just shaved his head and decided to hit the golf course while wearing a visor. So naturally, this was all a recipe for disaster. One Reddit user joked that he looks like a "Neapolitan ice cream," and now we can't unsee it...

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